Launched last year, the initiative by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana sought shipyards interested in building dual-fuel fast ferries for deployment on the Strait of Messina. With no participants in the initial round, a second attempt was considered, but it has now been definitively called off. The contract, valued at around EUR 52 million, faced challenges such as the complexity of the procedure and escalating raw material costs. Despite two shipyards seeking more details last year, they ultimately chose not to participate in the tender by submitting an offer.
The ferry company Bluferries has been transferred from Rete Ferroviaria Italiana to Mercitalia Logistics, both companies part of the Ferrovie dello Stato Group (the former is the manager of the national rail infrastructure, the latter is the logistics arm for cargo rail transport).
This operation “will allow greater sea-rail-road integration with a view to developing traffic in support of the local economy. The maritime operator’s employment level, which today consists of 145 people, will be entirely maintained” is written in a statement.
Bluferries’ fleet consist of five double-ended ships deployed between Villa San Giovanni and Tremestieri ports respectively in Calabria and in Sicily for the transport of Ro-Ro units and passengers.
A new to be completed vessel, with a hybrid propulsion system and sister ship of TRINACRIA currently under construction in Greece, is scheduled to join the company’s fleet in September 2024.
- IGINIA, delivered last year to Rete Ferroviaria Italiana (RFI) for deployment on the Strait of Messina, is back in the port of Genoa at T. Mariotti and San Giorgio del Porto shipyards.
- The vessel will be equipped with batteries that are recharged via solar panels or via the shore.
- The hybridisation of the ferry is part of the fleet renewal for rail and ro-ro transport between Sicily and Calabria. The programme includes hybrid adaptation interventions on two other ships and the construction of shore power infrastructure for recharging.
- The overall investment of EUR 20 million is financed by the EU Next Gen program (in Italy called PNRR, National Recovery and Resilience Plan).
- To improve the fast passenger transport service on the Strait of Messina, RFI plans also to purchase three new generation ships with LNG / electric propulsion, with the funding of EUR 60 million from the same PNRR program.
Following the failure of the previous request of offers for building a roro vessel fit for transporting railcars, Rete Ferroviaria Italiana’s last call for shipyards interested at constructing three dual-fuel fast ferries due to be deployed on the Strait of Messina also attracted no participants.
The contract price was roughly EUR 52 million euros, of which approximately EUR 1.2 million for the project. RFI is now considering how to proceed; one option is to issue a new call for tenders.
Complexity of the procedure and rising costs of raw materials might be among the reasons for the failure according to some sources familiar with the matter.
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana, rail infrastructure network manager and company part of the Ferrovie dello Stato Italiane group, last summer made public its fleet renewal plan which consists of:
- Refitting and hybridization of the 2013-built ferry MESSINA
- Delivery of the new ship IGINIA which took place earlier this year
- Purchase of a new ro-pax ship before 2025
- Cold ironing system ashore in the ports on the two sides of the Strait of Messina
Project to buy three high-speed vessels dual-fuel LNG or Electric for passenger transport service
Rete Ferroviaria Italiana has just made public the decision not to award to the Spanish shipyard Hijos de J. Barreras the order for a new ferry. The reason seems to be that some documents and certifications are missing with the submitted offer.
The new hybrid-powered ferry should be used to transport passengers, railway carriages and wagons, dangerous goods and rail tankers in the Strait of Messina, and railway wagons for the Sicily-Sardinia connection.
Contract price was EUR 74 million and delivery expected in 2024.
A new public tender is likely to be launched in the very near future.
CTMA Says Goodbye to MADELEINE
CTMA has announced that the veteran ferry MADELEINE (MarineTraffic) will be ‘dismantled’. She’s the former LEINSTER (1981).
In the meanwhile, a crew has arrived in Las Palmas de Gran Canaria to bring the recently acquired ferry VILLA DE TEROR to Canada.
RFI’s New Ferry IGINIA Almost Completed
The trainferry IGINIA commissioned by Rete Ferroviaria Italiana is being completed by the temporary association of companies composed by T. Mariotti and San Giorgio del Porto shipyards in Genoa.
The vessel is a one-way roro intended for the transport of railway carriages and wagons, passengers, wheeled vehicles for connections in the Strait of Messina.
The construction works started in 2019, after the technical launch took place in San Giorgio di Nogaro in September 2020 with subsequent transfer to Genoa. The ship has just completed a phase of activities in dry-dock that will see it return in a few months for the completion of works.
Later this year she will join her sister ship MESSINA and the rest of RFI’s fleet deployed in the Strait of Messina.
The new ropax ferry ordered by Rete Ferroviaria Italia (Rfi) at San Giorgio del Porto and T. Mariotti shipyards, was successfully launched a few days ago with a load-out and float-off operation.
The ferry, suitable for the transportation of railway carriages, wagons, passengers and vehicles, will be deployed in the Strait of Messina.
The hull of the new unit is now heading from San Giorgio di Nogaro to Genoa, under tow by tug GIANEMILIO C. (MarineTraffic).
The construction will be completed in the coming months.
The hull is already equipped with engines, generators, propulsion machinery and systems.
Genoa-based T.Mariotti (together with the sister companies San Giorgio del Porto and Tecnavi) and Carrara-based Nuovi Cantieri Apuania are the two shipyards which submitted an offer to build a second ro-pax train ferry for RFI (Rete Ferroviaria Italiana).
The ferry is to be deployed in the Strait of Messina.
8 October was the deadline for submitting offers to build a sister ship of the MESSINA delivered by Nuovi Cantieri Apuania in 2013. Starting price is €53 million and construction time 495 days.
Apart from NCA and T.Mariotti no other shipyards submitted their offers according to RFI.
A final decision will be announced as soon as all the technical and economic evaluations of both the offers will be completed.